Joel Lund

Christian Books & Bibles, Children's Books

Author Profile

Joel  Lund

Joel Lund was awarded "Top 10 Idaho Author" for his first book, "The Ultimate Survival Guide For Youth Ministers" His second book, "Watson's Way; Life Lessons We Earned From Our Brilliant Dog," won the "Top 3 Idaho Book" award. He’s received numerous North American Book Awards. He also writes the young adult fantasy series—The Gargoyle Chronicles—under the name Brandon King. He’s a galleried artist, musician, and pet person. He’s spoken to tens of thousands of people (kids and adults) and is the co-founder of Prepare For Rain, a transformation incubator for people wanting more out of their lives. Joel grew up in the Seattle area. In the middle of his college years, he traveled around the country in a band. Later, he earned a Master's (Regent College) and worked many years in youth ministry. With no sales experience to get him going, his second career was in the financial services industry. Learn more about Watson, the Canine Guru, at Learn more about Joel at


Watson's Way

Children's Books

Dozens of reviews, with a 4.4 star average...for a book about a dog? Well, sure! Because who wouldn't love to learn from this gentle teacher? Kids spend a lot of time wondering about how to be a good friend, how to communicate effectively, and what it means to be successful in life. Truth is, even a lot of adults wonder these things. What if you could learn all this from a dog? Well, you can. Discover why the world's canine guru has so many fans around the world.

Book Bubbles from Watson's Way

Get Your Muse On

Sometimes the best response to a challenging day (hour, minute, whatever) is to get your muse on and take it all in. Just like Watson. For more pro tips on living your best life now, just follow Watson! ???? ~JL Learn more from the #canineguru. #getyourmuseon #music #LiveMusicIsBest #thinkaboutit #lessonsfromadog #choosewisely #cuddletime #love #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #readabook #awardwinning [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

Keep Your Pants On

It’s pretty popular these days to talk about “living your truth.” Like your view of things is somehow totally different or better or smarter (or something) than every other human that lives or has lived. That’s kind of like walking around without pants on, like the famous king with no clothes. Everyone else knows it’s embarrassing except the one who is being nakedly and snobbishly living their truth. Happily, dogs can be just as clueless while living their “truth,” but with them it’s charming. When people do it, not so much. ~JL Learn more from the #canineguru. #keepyourpantson #cluelessisnotpretty #thinkaboutit #lessonsfromadog #liveyourtruth #choosewisely #cuddletime #love #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #readabook #awardwinning [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

It’s Better to Share

After surviving 2020, the virus, lockdowns, an unmatched election season, etc., etc., and then some more etc., I think most people expected 2021 to be, well, different. Even “improved.” In other words, we didn’t expect that 2021 would carry along so much baggage from the previous, very troubled year. So, what to do? My suggestion...the world would be much more calm and pleasant—for everyone—if we took this lesson from Watson: it’s better to share. Check out this excerpt and learn from the #canineguru. ~JL #bettertoshare #ittakesaplanet #calmdown ##thisisnt2020 #lessonsfromadog #worldpeace #choosewisely #cuddletime #love #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #readabook #awardwinning [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

Levitate...Like a Dog

If you’re not “a dog person,” then you’ve probably never witnessed a dog levitate. Your loss. It’s really a great wonder of the world. Check out this excerpt and learn from the #canineguru. ~JL #levitatingdog #ittakesavillage #pooperscooper #lessonsfromadog #amazing #witness #wondersoftheworld #cuddletime #love #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #readabook #awardwinning [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

Living Your Best Life Now...As a Dog

Unless you're under the age of about, let's say, seven... you would do well to stop talking. Because the odds are high that most of what comes out of your face is a complaint about so-and-so, or "those people," or "agents of chaos" in government. Or something like that. You're sensible and understand what I mean. So, if you want to live your best life now (whatever that means), I suggest you follow the wisdom of Watson, #thecanineguru. In order to communicate well with all those around him, he peed a lot. On everything. Do the same. See how well it works for you! Live your best life now! ~JL #livinglife #bestlifenow #dogslife #community #peealot #whizking #walking #canineguru #cuddletime #love #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #readabook #awardwinning [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

Beware the Toes!

Is it smoldering hot where you live? We’re breaking records here in Idaho. You could say I’m not a fan. I prefer it about 64 degrees and...overcast. Really. Comes from growing up in the balmy land of Seattle. Still, the reason I favor that kind of weather is because it’s great to be outside in. Not too hot. Not too cold. So, really awesome for walking, working, hiking, name it. Of course, a dog likes to run around in pretty much any weather. It’s a worthy goal to model your activities after a dog—as you’ll see in this excerpt—even if you don’t have a dog to go walking with. Watson’s timely and utterly wise recommendation for you is, “Just don’t break your toe.” Good advice! #getoutside #summer #heat #challenges #bewarethetoes #walkies #canineguru #cuddletime #love #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

The Other Kind of Hot Dog

Now that we're in July, it's just stinking hot. It seems to be more true for regions that are normally rather moderate. At least that’s true where I am. And at this time of year, the weather departments of TV news channels get laughed at when they display a projected temp of...1106...or something similarly volcanic. But then maybe they just wanted the extra attention that come from a thousand+ degree forecast. Who knows? One thing is certain, dogs paws can't deal with pavement and sidewalks that hot; their pads will burn. So, while you enjoy the heat of summer (or not), and celebrate Independence Day (or not), please be mindful of the pads of pooches because they're not designed for superheated manmade walkways. Instead, find a lovely patch of green grass and witness the other kind of hot dog enjoying life to the full. #otherkindofhotdog #summer #independenceday #celebrate #bemindful #superheated #hotwalk #cuddletime #love #human #thinkinghuman #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

Joy of Flying Dogs

Yesterday, a video of a dog showed up in my Facebook feed. There’s nothing unusual about that since I’m “a dog guy.” But what was SUPER unusual was the dog on the video. He’s wound up tight like he’s going to sprint across what looks like a park, but as the camera pans him roaring past to the left, the dog leaps. And when I say “leap,” I mean he looks like he was fired from a cannon. The smart phone pans to follow the dog. Then you realize the dog just leapt over a cliff....except it’s not a cliff, your brain tells you. Because your brain has plenty of time to process the dog is flying over a sandy beach...before finally landing in the bay next to some seaside town. The dog’s hang time seems like an hour before he splashes into the water that sang its name. Joy! Watson adored his time in the air, too, as you’ll see in this excerpt. There’s joy for flying dogs...and their persons. What brings you joy? #flyingdogs #joy #joyofdogs #hangtime #insane #amazing #heartwarming #cuddletime #love #human #thinkinghuman #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

Dogs Can Tell

Dogs have excellent intuition. They can tell what mood you’re in. They can tell if that person over there is okay or not. They will let you know in unavoidable ways that it is best to treat someone with suspicion. In short, they’re better than humans are at discernment, which is a word not used much any more. It means: “The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment.” And “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.” These days it seems that a lot of people believe just about everything they see on their “smart” phone. Perhaps now, more than ever, dogs are our best friend...because dogs can tell. In their devotion, they help protect us from ourselves. If only they could sniff out the danger coming from our phones. #dogscantell #discernment #smartdogs #stupidphones #suspicion #goodjudgment #smelltest #agendas #keendogs #heartwarming #cuddletime #love #human #thinkinghuman #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

The Joys of Being Clueless

Dogs aren't deep thinkers. Then again I'm sure you, like me, have met more than a few people who aren't deep thinkers. It's interesting that when it comes to dogs not being the brightest bulbs, the result can still be quite charming. In this excerpt we see Watson being clueless about his size as well as appropriate behavior, which led to loads of awkwardness. Yet his goal was a lovely thing: he wanted quality time with those who cared about him. If you decide to try something similar, I recommend you dry your nose first. There's a limit to how much awkward will be tolerated even by people who care about you. ;-) #clueless #deepthinker #funnydog #awkward #drynose #summerfun #dogs #humor #funnywiggles #heartwarming #cuddletime #love #human #connection #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #allcreaturesgreatandsmall [Grab your free Watson’s Way sampler at]

A Party Animal On Steroids

Now that the world is beginning to open back up, more or less (depending on country), people are venturing out into the wide world...of other people. Happily, not everyone has forgotten the importance of simple common courtesies, like a warm welcome or greeting. Well, just in case you need a refresher in such things, look no further than a well-behaved dog. Better than Google. Way better than the receptionist... anywhere, but especially at the doctor's office. And maybe even better than the greeters at church. Look no further than a good, smart dog. As you might have guessed, we have a solid Watson's Way example for you. I hope you enjoy it! ???? [Grab a free Watson’s Way sampler at] #partyanimal #greetings #steroidal #bigexcitement #comeonin #dogdaysofsummer #dogs #humor #funnywiggles #heartwarming #cuddletime #love #human #connection #watsonsway #kids #caring #parents #grandparents #devotions #gospel #allcreaturesgreatandsmall

Time For Your Hyper Pants!

This weekend marks the informal start of summer. But it’s a mixed bag of feelings, since the last weekend of May includes Memorial Day. So, for many people it’s a time of fun in the sun, playing too hard, and eating loads of BBQ. But it’s also a time to pause, remember, and celebrate those who no longer enjoy fun in the sun with us. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring a special zeal and zest for living even as we offer memorial to those no longer living. In addition to all the elements that come with this weekend, we’ll also be remembering the joy and zest that Watson brought to our living together for the short years we shared. We’ll put on our hyper pants for at least one day this weekend, and make funny voices. How about you? ???? #memorialday #hyperpants #zealandzest #dogdaysofsummer #remember #dogs #humor #sunscreenhelps #funnyvoices #heartwarming #cuddletime #love #human #connection #watsonsway #kids #parents #grandparents #caring #devotions #gospel #mobileentertainmentsystem

Nope! Not Just For Dog People!

OK, I get it. You see a book cover with a cute puppy on the cover and you immediately decide it's not for you. Well, you'd be oh-so-very wrong! And I mean that in a kind way, of course. ;-) "Please enlighten me, then!" you say. And I reply, "Yes, indeed. How about if I just do that?" There humor in this book. Lots of it. Who doesn't like humor, right? And there's heartwarming stuff, too. In the year of pandemic-driven lockdowns, who doesn't need something heartwarming? Best of all, these little stories take only a few minutes to read...with someone little. So, there's built in cuddle-time. Yay! I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson. ~JLL #dogs #humor #heartwarming #antivirus #cuddletime #love #human #connection #peemail #watsonsway #kids #parents #grandparents #caring #devotions #gospel

Give Your Mom a Lick

In just a few days, a lot of people in the United States will celebrate Mother's Day. Be like Watson. Sneak up on your mom and giver her a big, wet lick on her face to show how much you care. BONUS: It's certain to communicate how much you appreciate her. It sure worked for Watson, so it is certain to work for you, too. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt from Watson's Way. :-) And Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! Why not get her a copy of this book, so she can smile at all of Watson's canine wisdom! ~Joel #bigwetkiss #wetnose #surprise #dogaffection #mothersday #begoodtomom #youth #devotional #snuggles #readagreatbook #awardwinning #WatsonsWay

Celebrate World Book Day With Watson

If you, like me, are happy to discover there is something called "World Book Day," then make sure you carve out time to read a book this weekend. Although you could say I am biased, might I recommend you read more award-winning Watson's Way? Loads of people love Watson's way of dealing with life, including this excerpt on how to relax. So, why not relax, like Watson, by reading about Watson? Now, that's a great idea! See how clever you are? ;-) Check out 40+ reviews on Watson's website (! ~Joel #WorldBookDay #readWatsonsWay #dogs #lovewatsonsway #relax #laptime #share #dog #wisdom #dogs #belikeWatson #parents #canineguru #love #snuggletime #readagreatbook #awardwinning #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Be Like Bitzer...and Watson

Like to laugh? One of our favorite things to watch are the animated shorts by Aardman Animation Studios. They do Wallace and Gromit, as well as Shawn the Sheep. All of them are hilarious. Like slap your leg and laugh out loud kind of funny. My favorite character now is Bitzer, the very capable canine manager of the sheep, in the Shawn the Sheep episodes. He's very bright, like Gromit is, but more at risk of freaking out about things that don’t work as planned. And with those sheep, nothing goes as planned. Still, he obsesses over those sheep, and keeping his checklist complete. Much like Watson would do rounds of all members of the household, Bitzer has things under his careful eye. Be like Bitzer. Or Watson. You'll be better for it. ;-) Check out 40+ reviews on Watson's website (! ~Joel #Bitzer #watchful #dogs #lovewatsonsway #thoughtful #laptime #share #dog #wisdom #dogs #belikeWatson #parents #canineguru #love #snuggletime #readagreatbook #awardwinning #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Why Readers Love Watson's Way

How can a book about a dog have so many positive reviews? Well, Ginny has this to say: "SWEET & THOUGHTFUL: Although written for a younger audience, (this) book can be meaningful for all generations, especially for those who have had four-legged friends. The book is organized by stories about Watson…and has an interactive component which allows the reader to reflect on his/her own experiences while connecting the theme to passages from the Bible. I think this book would be particularly helpful for families who just lost their first pet; as a family they can reflect on how much of an impact their “special friend” has had on their lives and what they can learn from the time they had together." Thank you, Ginny! I hope you enjoy this excerpt and get a sense of what Ginny means. Did you know you can see more reviews on Watson's website ( ~Joel #lovewatsonsway #sweet #thoughtful #laptime #share #dog #wisdom #dogs #belikewatson #parents #canineguru #love #snuggletime #readagreatbook #awardwinning #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Rest, This Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, 2021. Around the world, millions will observe the day, some in a celebratory way while others will engage in more solemn activities. But virtually all will lean into the quiet of the leadup to Easter morning. They'll rest. They'll wait. Not unlike Watson. In this excerpt, we see how Watson relaxes. Like most dogs, most of the day is spent asleep, unconcerned about anything. May you relax this weekend in a similar way. Rest! Still, I'd advise against curling up next to someone's feet. Even if you know them well. BTW, check out Watson's website ( ~Joel #GoodFriday #rest #remember #worship #honor #laptime #share #dog #wisdom #dogs #belikewatson #parents #canineguru #love #snuggletime #readagreatbook #awardwinning #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

A Dog's Baptism

Martin Luther would delight in his bath time by crying out "I am baptized!" The pouring of water on his body reminded him each time of his baptism. Now, maybe that's an odd idea to you. Maybe you haven't been baptized (easily remedied) or it was so long ago that you remember nothing of it (exactly why Luther reminded himself). Well, even a dog enjoys the reminder of being cleansed, even if he does mostly eat the water intended to do so. I hope you enjoy this excerpt! Let me know, will you? ~Joel #baptism #washed #reminder #goodhabits #laptime #share #dog #wisdom #dogs #belikewatson #cats #parents #canineguru #love #snuggletime #readagreatbook #awardwinning #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

A Dog's Bumper Sticker?

There's an old bumper sticker which reads, "Live Music Is Best." I think it might have been written by Watson. But what do I know? Maybe ALL dogs would write that. What I do know is that it's not just people who enjoy listening to live music...a lot! Hope you enjoy this little excerpt from Watson's Way! Let me know, will you please? ~Joel #livemusic #chillout #bumpersticker #laptime #share #dog #wisdom #dogs #belikewatson #cats #parents #canineguru #love #snuggletime #readagreatbook #awardwinning #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Oh, To Be Blissfully Unaware

It's been said that ignorance is bliss. I've never quite understood that, since pretty much every action that was grounded in ignorance, by me or anyone I know, has ended badly. So, it's an odd thing to connect bliss to bad results, right? Except when it's a dog taking that action. I think that's because the ignorance of a dog is based on utterly benign expectations. They're an open book, with an open heart. They also rarely have strong opinions about their personal space, not like humans usually do. So, take a lesson from Watson: go sit in someone's lap and discover your bliss! (If that's not an option without legal entanglements, then visit a shelter and spend time with a blissfully unaware dog.) I hope you enjoy this little excerpt. ???? ~Joel #blissful #unaware #visit #laptime #share #dog #belikewatson #wisdom #dogs #cats #parents #canineguru #readagreatbook #awardwinning #snuggletime #love #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Uncomplicating Happiness

It's quite popular today to make it someone else's responsibility to make you happy. As if finding our own happiness is beyond our ability. Um, no. That's both overcomplicating things and placing the emphasis on the wrong person. Be like Watson. Keep it simple. And own your own stuff. :-) Why not grab a copy of Watson's Way for someone in your life? #share #uncomplicatedhappiness #dog #belikewatson #wisdom #dogs #dognitivedissonance #parents #canineguru #readagreatbook #awardwinning #snuggletime #love #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Dognitive Dissonance

Perhaps the biggest difference between dogs and their persons has to do with their cognitive dissonance (persons) with their dog's disregard for propriety. It's something I call, "dognitive dissonance." And once seen, you can't unsee. ;-) #cantunsee #dog #dognitivedissonance #notthesame #wisdom #cognitivedissonance #canineguru #propriety #ohstopthat #awkward #readagreatbook #awardwinning #parents #dogs #snuggletime #itsnotallaboutyou #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Oh, For The Love Of It

As we sneak up on Valentine's Day, consider how you can show your affection (and to whom) in a new way. Perhaps by levitating, like Watson does in this excerpt. ❤ #levitate #dog #wisdom #canineguru #barkless #trykindness #readagreatbook #awardwinning #parents #dogs #snuggletime #itsnotallaboutyou #othersmatter #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

The Elephant Walk

You remember the song "Walk Like an Egyptian"? Well, how about walking like an elephant? Watson turned it into a science and an art. ;-) #walklikeanelephant #dog #wisdom #canineguru #barkless #sharing #stopbarking #stopdemanding #trykindness #readagreatbook #awardwinning #parents #dogs #snuggletime #itsnotallaboutyou #othersmatter #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Eat. Water. Love.

Looking for a foolproof pathway to happiness in 2021? Watson, the Canine Guru has a word of advice for you: eat water. Because it leads to love. ;-) No, really. Try it out. See for yourself. #eat #water #love #happiness #2021 #dog #wisdom #canineguru #barkless #sharing #stopbarking #stopdemanding #trykindness #readagreatbook #awardwinning #parents #dogs #snuggletime #itsnotallaboutyou #othersmatter #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Important Advice From a Wise Dog—Bark Less

After the first week of 2021, we'd all do well to receive a massive dose of dog wisdom from the Canine Guru, Watson: bark less. #dog #canineguru #wisdom #barkless #stopbarking #easedown #sharemore #stopdemanding #trykindness #readagreatbook #awardwinning #parents #snuggletime #sharing #itsnotallaboutyou #othersmatter #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #WatsonsWay

Welcome 2021 Like a Dog...In Midair

Whatever your feelings about 2020 (and, yes, I know you have loads of feelings about it because, really, how could you not?), I hope you can approach 2021 like a dog. Which is to say, like a dog twisting to catch a ball in midair. In other words, be like Watson and love jumping as much as chasing, where it doesn't get much better than doing both at the same time and where every flight is a new joy. May 2021 be filled with the joy that was missing for you in 2020! #dog #canineguru #WatsonsWay #leapingforjoy #takeflight #gratitude #readagreatbook #awardwinning #parents #snuggletime #childrensbook #devotional #nighttimestory #HappyNewYear

Welcome, Love So Amazing

On this Christmas Day, 2020, may you be enveloped by enduring peace and joy. In our home today, we consider the wonderous Gift this day is set aside to celebrate by millions of people around the world. What gift can we give in return? The final stanza in a song by Isaac Watts comes to mind: "Were the whole realm of nature mine; That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all." #MerryChristmas #WelcomeHome #LoveSoAmazing #Peace #Joy #dogs #love #welcome

Starlight Wonder

It's been 800 years in the celestial making, but the Bethlehem Star is expected to make an encore performance on 12/21. If you have a chance to go outside to behold its majesty with a dog at your side, wonderful! But if you're currently dog-free, stand out there anyway to behold something that brought such joy, hope and Good News, 2000 years ago. #canineguru #dogs #bethlehemstar #hope #peace #goodnews #kidfriendly #awardwinningbook #devotional

The Charms of the National Dog Show

For many year now, we celebrate Thanksgiving by watching the National Dog Show. It's not the only thing we do, of course. But even "I'm not a dog-person!" types love watching the show. How can they not, when one species is represented by over 200 variations on a canine-theme? But more than that, the dogs (and their handlers) aim to charm. And who can't embrace some loveable charm in this pandemic year? Check it out on sports.nbcsports(.)com. And if you have a pooch of your own, enjoy the rerun together. Then read Watson's Way. ???? A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! #dogs #dogshow #canineguru #charm #smiles #readabook #faith #awardwinning #watsonsway #mutts #childrensebook #devotional #shelterdog #rescue #silverlining

Just Say "Ahhh!"

As the world seems to get crazier by the day, the wisdom of Watson makes more and more sense to me. Even with his dental visits, he'd approach them with his eyes wide open. People don't always do that. Some squeeze their eyes shut, as if somehow not seeing what's happening around them magically makes it disappear. That's not how real-life works. So, take it from Watson. Just say "ahhh!" and keep your eyes open. #dogs #ahhh #watch #eyesopen #stayfrosty #canineguru #slowdown #observe #staywatchful

Better Than A Movie: Walking the Dog

If you've never been a dog's person, you've missed out on one of the greatest entertainments the world has to offer: walking the dog. Because the odds are high that sometime during your dog walk, you will encounter someone else out for a stroll with their pooch. And that is when the magic happens! i hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. :-) #thewalk #dogsonpatrol #sniff #humoronfourlegs #canineguru #adoptionsaveslives #dogsrock

The Enduring Value of the Paws Pause

If you've been reading my book bubbles about Watson's Way, you know that I'm an advocate for pet adoption. In fact, I believe that becoming a dog's "person"—which is much more than viewing yourself as the dog's owner—actually makes you a better human. And this self-improvement has many benefits. First, having a dog in your life encourages you to learn patience. Second, you grow more compassionate. Third, you get healthier and probably will lose weight. How's that? Well, it's simple. You'll take breaks for walking your pooch. Probably more than once a day. So, your pause for their paws gets both of you outside, in the fresh air, and helps you both get exercise! And that's the enduring value of the paws pause. I should trademark that! #pawspause #dogs #walkies #healthy #canineguru #adoptionsaveslives #readabook #beworthy #becomeabetterhuman

When Sharing Really Is Caring

I don't remember anymore when "Sharing Is Caring" became a culturally iconic phrase. It's not always true that sharing is a real demonstration of caring. Usually, yes. Always, not so much. But learn from the #CanineGuru, Watson, how to put sharing into real caring. ;-) #dogs #canineguru #lessonsatthewaterdish #water #summerheat #stayhydrated

Nature Vs Nurture?

The debate over whether nature is stronger than nurture has never made sense to me. It seemed an unhelpful and false argument. If you spend any time around a dog, you'll know soon enough that it's both nature and nurture, not either or. Watson's internal conflict about what to do when the doorbell rang served as a case study. But it was never clear if it was his nature or nurture doing the bold whimpering. The lesson he taught us was that it was (almost) always better to let curious win out over nervous. #dogwisdom #canineguru #watsonsway #ilovedogs #adoptashelterpup #dogdna #nature #nurture #curious #nervous #nocontest

A Dog's Life

Besides wishing to make people smile while reading about Watson and his endearing ways, I hope to convert people who say "I'm not a dog person!" into lifelong fans of canines. My sense is that for quite a few of those folks (maybe even most of them), they understand intuitively that dog's life spans are shorter than humans. And they, sadly, unconsciously decide to abort the nearly certain pain of loss that will come from being a pet's never outliving the pet they didn't adopt. Trust me when I say that the loss of a furry friend is, indeed, hard to bear. However, it is worse to not ever had the joys that come during your canine's life. It is so worth the tradeoff. #dog #walkies #funonfourlegs #peemail #humansbestfriend #adopt #watchout! #love

What's Your Passion?

Hey, if you're tired of the cabin fever, be like Watson! Go chase a ball around. And around. And around. Until you lay down, panting so hard you nearly barf. Or you could just play tennis. #chase #canineguru #dogwisdom #funrun #chuckle #tennis

Tired of All the Anger?

Maybe (!) you've noticed that everyone seems angry about something, someone or even somewhere. And maybe you just need a break from that. If so, going for a walk is a great idea. If you can take a dog with you on the walk, even better! But you don't even have to leave the house! just wander around your home to see how everyone is. Check in. Are you solo? No worries. Make the rounds using the phone, text, video pick. All I'm saying is that maybe you could use a solid dose of demonstrating love. If everyone tried that for an hour or two, some of that anger might dissipate and we could communicate better. #canineguru #dogwisdom #barkless #wagmore

Don't Be Like Denathor

If you're familiar with The Lord of the Rings movie series, you know who Denathor is. If you don't, it's high time you watch the series. Because Denathor's mind is eventually thrown over from fear, distrust, envy and loads of other human qualities that didn't serve him or those around him. There was a better path for him to take. So, don't be like Denathor. Unless by imitating Watson imitating Denathor, you entertain yourself and those around you with his epic sneer. #sneer #barkless #choose #peace #calm #delusions #lovemore #smile #laughmore #breathe

Watson's Advice: Wag More

Are you tired of the daily news cycle of doom, gloom, and boom? Feel like raging against _______ (insert what you annoys you most today)? Perhaps a better approach to the trials of daily living is to follow the advice of the #CanineGuru. First, recognize that daily living brings daily trials. That's a good place to start. Second, do your best to share, rather than demand your own way. It's not that barking is always bad. But after a while, it loses its impact. On the flip side, though, can you imagine a time when sharing would lose its impact? #wagmore #share #barkless #canineguru #think #amwriting #pause #breathe #becurious #calmdown #goodadvice #dogs

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

If you find happiness harder to come by these days (and who doesn't?), our canine guru has a simple path to follow. Just use the appropriate level of caution...since you're not a dog and all. ;-) #happy #dogs #canineguru #getoutside #donthurtyourself #freshair #readagreatbook #barkless #wagmore #watsonsway

Why Grandparents Love Watson

During this time of "lockdown" or whatever it's being called in your world, it's even more important to grandparents to connect with the "littles" in their life. When our family committed to bring the life lessons we learned from Watson, we envisioned children sitting in the laps of their grans while listening to Watson's endearing lessons. Happily, technology makes it possible to still get that precious time together in a virtual way. Why not grab a copy and read "Watson Hyper Pants" to your littles? You have almost a month's worth of lessons! ;-) #littles #grandkids #love #storytime #online #virtual #newroutines #stayconnected #staysafe

When You're Released From Sheltering

As more and more communities, counties, states and countries open things up, consider going out like Watson. Engage every opportunity like a true adventure. And because you'll probably be deploying a LOT of your own crazy energy when you finally go out, be careful about where it takes you. :-) I hope you enjoy this little blurb from Watson's Way. Consider grabbing a copy to read to the littles in your life. Maybe outside under a tree, with a dog nearby. ❤#outdoors #released #freetoroam #freshair #adventure #crazyenergy #dogs #canineguru

Bark Less

Chances are very high that you all of your "pre-Corona" habits have been dented, if not radically changed over the past month. Let's face it, the changes have been huge. That brings a lot of strain with it. In this excerpt from Watson's Way, we see how Watson deals with intense demands on his world. We certainly learned from his methods for dealing with stress, strain and difficulty. How about you? Grab a copy of Watson's Way and learn more from the Canine Guru! :-) #dogs #caninewisdom #stress #habits #barkless #bequiet #subtle #diplomacy #winning #communicate #pottytime

Kid-Friendly, Parent-Approved

During a time of such distress for adults and growing boredom for kids, it's nice to know that Watson can bring you winsome kid-friendly, parent-approved life lessons. Because Watson is the Canine Guru. ;-) Enjoy the Watson stories, and use them as conversation starters in your family. You can even turn them into devotionals you can return to year after year. #dogs #familytime #shelterinplace #boredom #covid19 #worry #thistooshallpass #goodfriday #happyeaster

A Parent's Best Friend

Need to calm down your littles before bedtime? When our daughter was little, we read stories to her. We leaned toward whimsical stories that included a focus on faith. I'll never forget when held the long list in my hands. After suddenly losing our beloved Watson, I had gently encouraged my daughter that she jot down the things she wanted to remember about him. She returned with pages of them! When creating our "Watson stories" we absolutely wanted them to include a journaling section and a Bible verse to prompt a conversation between a parent (or grand) with their little, most likely at bedtime. And, happily, we've heard from parents that Watson has become a best friend to them, too. Because not only do you have cuddle time with your littles, you can share a faith lesson with them that they take into their slumber. #dogs #canineguru #littles #devotionaltime #faithfocus #slumber #cuddle

House Patrol

Now that you're stuck at home at some level, take this lesson from Watson, the #CanineGuru. Go on patrol once in a while if you have others stuck in the same dwelling with you. It's pretty easy to get a bit stir crazy when you're sheltering in place or working from home, unless you've already used to it. So, like Watson, make sure you're doing a quick pass through once in a while. Nothing serious or invasive. Just check in on the wellbeing of those with you. And if you're flying through this virus thing on your own, then hop on the phone or Facetime to check in on a loved one. Because we can all use some of that kind of devotion these days. #dogs #wfh #sip #housepatrol #spot-check #wagmore #barkless #devotion #faith #hope #love

Heightened Caution

To come to terms with this new age we're in, I gave it a name. Not long ago, we were all in "BC" (before coronavirus). Now we're all in "FC" (fighting coronavirus). Some people are in denial and living as if FC won't affect them. By now, it's clear to me that we all need to engage in heightened caution (FC), in the same way we see Watson doing with the dentist. Lots of people would do well to go very slowly into life, with eyes wide open, for the sake of everyone around them. Grab a copy of Watson's Way and see what other lessons he has to share. Read them to the littles in your life. #staysafe #gurudog #watsonsway #caninewisdom #chinup #laugh #wagmore #keepthefaith #usecaution

Fear and Trembling

There's a lot we can learn from dogs. And with the onset of a new and frightening pandemic, now is as good a time as ever to be reminded. #dogwisdom #fear #trembling #caring #behaviors #watchoutforeachother #virus #washyourhands #keepyourwits #sneakagrin #bebrave

Calm Among Panic

In this season of global fears about a real viral event, we humans would all do well to learn from a dog called Watson. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. Get a copy for the freaked out persons in your life. #panic #calm #choices #dontgonuts #verify #keepcalm #washyourhands #dogs #caninewisdom

Ultimate Fitness

An important life lesson we learned from our dog, Watson, is that ultimate fitness isn't just about being in great physical shape. It actually has more to do with our interpersonal "fitness." Have you noticed the world seems to be getting more angry and self-focused? Well, to make sure you're not becoming one of those angry people, get a dog into your life. Volunteer at the local shelter. Visit a friend with a dog and see how sociable it is. And if you have the ability (space, time, commitment), adopt a pup of your own. Soon, you'll have ultimate fitness, with a passion for playing ball...and with a passion for others, even an elevated patience for the angry ones. #dogs #fitness #passion #people #wagmore #barkless

The Daily Valentine

Hey, there! Valentine's Day is about more than romance. It's about finding...and bringing... happiness in the world around you. When people fail you (and they all eventually will...which includes you and me, if we're being honest, right?), a dog will not. There is something nearly mystical about the unfettered, unfiltered, and enduring affection of a dog. If you're a dog person, you already know that. If you're not a dog person, start learning about how to be a great dog person. Only an abused dog might disappoint, and that's because a human first deeply disappointed the dog. #dogslove #valentines #amwriting #wagmore #barkless #bringinghappiness #wagginglove #loveonfourlegs

What Really Matters

When we lost our beloved dog, Watson, to a sudden onset of cancer, he was still young. He was a true member of our family. His loss was devastating. On the drive home from the vet, where our boy lay still and free of his pain, I said softly to my daughter, "Honey, maybe you could make a list of the things we want to remember about Watson." She nodded, tears on her face. A few days later, she handed me a list of 150+ little memories. In just a few years, he'd made that big of an impact. Receiving the list from her, I began crafting short stories tied to each of her written memories. The result is this book, the first in a series. You see, dogs are like that. They don't let go. #cherishthem #honoring #caninewisdom #loveon4legs #dogs #kids #family #wagmore


A primary goal of mine, through writing Watson's Way, is to convert people into dog lovers. Why? Because I believe that dogs help us connect better with other people. This happens, in no small part, because dogs are (with few exceptions) incredibly generous, patient and forgiving. And what's not to love about that? I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way and consider grabbing a copy for the non-dog-person in your life. You'll be glad you did. And so will they. #dogs #connection #generosity #patient #forgiving #laughter #awesome

Fear-Inducing Fish?

Can you imagine being afraid of fish? No, no. Not sharks, but fish. And not any kind of fish. Afraid of...goldfish? Well, here's a story about a dog afraid of goldfish. But it's what he does with his fear that is most interesting. We learned a lesson from Watson's goldfish phobia. Will you? I hope you enjoy this excerpt from multi-award winning Watson's Way. Get a copy to share with the littles in your life. #dogs #goldfish #scary #cuteness #fearinthefishtank #curseofnemo

A Dog's Winter of Discontent?

Not many people I know are thrilled about the winter months. Even if they're avid skiers, dealing with the disruptions of snow on a day-to-day basis gets them pretty grumpy. On the other hand, not a single dog I've known shares that sentiment. This was certainly true for Watson. Until we put on his snow booties. For a few minutes, we'd witness the winter of his discontent. ;-) Then he'd forget the booties and revel in the snow. Every time. #dogs #snow #laugh #dogsinthesnow #lifeandliberty #prancingthroughthesnow #happiness #attitudematters

Dance Like No One is Watching

Have you seen the meme: "So I took the advice that I should dance like no is watching. My court hearing is on Tuesday"? Yep, it cracks me up, too. Happily, in the case of dogs getting their weird dance moves on, the results are simply funny. No law enforcement is required. ;-) Watson sure had special moves. The more hyper he got, the more epic his moves. Soon, the laws of physics were defied. And delirious laughter followed. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt from award-winning Watson's Way. Grab a copy for yourself. And thank you for your support! #dogs #mayhem #dancing #dwts #funny #consequences #allaboutthebone

Yeah, Baby! A New Year's Comin'!

If you, like me, find the need to change calendars every year a bit tiresome, maybe you (and I) need an attitude adjustment. Because it's coming whether we like it or not, right? This reminds me of one particular lesson from Watson. Think of it as his version of interpretive dance. ;-) I hope you enjoy this excerpt and consider grabbing a copy of the book to get more lessons on Watson's way of dealing with life's challenges. #dogs #dance #dinner #yearend #newyear #2020 #gurudog

Family Reunion Got You Worried?

Not everyone looks forward to family gatherings during the #holidayseason. If that sounds like you, consider using Watson's way of breaking through boundaries: sit in their lap. :-) I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way and consider grabbing a copy for yourself...and the peskiest person in your family. #dogs #laptime #happyholidays #family #kids #merrychristmas

How to Welcome Holiday Guests

Over the next few weeks you might be hosting a holiday gathering or two. Since you probably never received any training on greeting etiquette (I sure didn't!), consider this excerpt from Watson's Way as your crash course in the best practices for welcoming your guests. And grab a copy of Watson's Way for other great insights and helpful canine guidance! #dogs #holidays #welcome #guests #Christmas #gurudog #smile

Facing Down Your Nemo

Perhaps you're feeling some anxiety about 2019 coming to a close. Not only is a new year coming, but so is a new decade. And the world seems less stable now than 10 years ago. That's why having a dog can be so helpful. They keep you focused on the present moment. Plus, they can teach you many lessons about how to face your fears. Did you know that a 70-pound dog could be afraid of a fat goldfish named Nemo? It's true! I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. Don't have a dog? Why not go to your town's shelter and adopt a forever friend? And grab a copy of the book to read to your new pal. #dogs #foreverfriend #holidays #2020

Home Is Where The Dog Is

A happy home makes for a happy dog. And vice-versa. There is a magic chemistry between the two. Look up the speech made by George Graham Vest. He makes the best case for this magic a dog brings, in his "Tribute to the Dog." I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. #dogs #home #happy #dogonpatrol #faithful #truefriend #sharingiscaring

The Warmth of Music

Albert Schweitzer said, “There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats.” It was easy to see Watson take refuge in music. He went to where the music was. That was his way of seeking refuge from the cats in the house, too. :-) I hope you enjoy this excerpt from multiple award-winning Watson's Way. Get a copy for the dog (or music) lover in your life. Just make sure to have music in the background. #dogs #music #weekend #reading #love #cats #livemusicisthebest

In-Flight Refreshments

For people, getting a snack in the middle of a flight breaks up the monotony a little. It brings a bit of refreshment. For dogs, the flight is the refreshment. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way, and consider getting a copy for a dog lover in your life. #dogs #joy #airborne #happy #flight

Dogs Versus Space Bubbles

In a world that seems to be growing in isolation and tribalism, it's nice to remember that dogs care nothing about either. Why not adopt a dog from your local shelter? And if you like this excerpt, why not get a copy of Watson's Way? Keep the party going. :-) #dogs #spacebubbles #wetkisses #wetnoses

A Canine Denathor?

What if your dog played an epic, deeply flawed human character from an iconic movie series based on an iconic book series? Well, you'd have a front row seat to one of the funniest sight-gags, ever. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Watson's Way. Grab a copy for a dog lover in your life. #dogs #lotr #whatif #insanelyfunny #reading #familyfun #quiveringnose

The Hard Work of Love

As we drove home from the vet, after saying our far-too-young goodbyes to Watson, our beloved friend, I encouraged my daughter to write a list of things she wanted to remember about him. A few days later, she handed me a list of more than 150 memories, written in her pre-teen script. My part was then to take her list and turn each memory into a short chapter. Grieving the loss of a pet is hard work. Writing about it is also hard. But because we found few resources, we wrote Watson's Way hoping that others will find comfort in his lessons. Eventually, we intend to turn Watson's Way into a 5-book series. Yes, he had that much to teach us in the few short years we shared together. If you enjoy this excerpt, please consider getting a copy for someone grieving the loss of their fur baby. #dogs #love #sharingiscaring #furbabies

Summertime Energized!

Do you, like me, feel more energized on summer mornings? Great! Our dog, Watson, has a lesson to share with you. I hope you consider getting a copy of Watson's Way for yourself or a friend. #summer #dogs #hyper #priorities #thechase #barkingjoy #weekendreadermarathon

Give Peace a Chance

This excerpt from Watson's Way gives us a lesson in why humans might do better to approach conflict more like a dog does. Even though we may not always be successful in our efforts to bring peace, we should be like Watson. Risk the effort every time. I hope you enjoy this book bubble and consider getting a copy of Watson's Way. #peace #dogs #doglogic #givepeaceachance #risktheeffort #weekendreader #belikewatson

Nervously Bold...Or Boldly Nervous?

Here's a bold claim: all people should be "dog people." I suppose an exception could be made for someone who is literally allergic to all canines. Maybe that's a thing. i don't know. What I do know is that being around dogs helps (most) humans become better humans. We become more compassionate. More aware. More in tune with the world around us. We get out more. And, most importantly, dog people laugh a lot. Because dogs are, when left to their own devices, hilarious. Case in point: Watson and the front door. My, oh my, what a thing to behold! Grab your own copy of "Watson's Way" to learn more. PS: I was badly bitten by a dog when I was 5 years old, and I still hold to my bold claim. #dogs #humans #learning #laughing

The Wonder of Canine Kisses

Maybe it's just us. But we hope not. Please now it's not like we wish this one you, but do you have a friend or relative that behaves with cringeworthy boundaries? Which is a nice way of saying they don't have any. I'll never forget the moment an uncle-in-law, who I'd never met, came straight up to me and kissed me on the lips. Yikes. Well, dogs have no sense of boundaries. Or propriety, for that matter. But in the case of dogs, it's all good. Because they're not invading your space like humans do. They're inviting you into theirs, as a full member of the pack. I hope you enjoy this excerpt! Please consider getting a copy of Watson's Way for yourself or a friend. #dogs #nosekisses #canineaffection #love

Hard Choices

Some people argue that by writing a book like this, I'm "humanizing" Watson. The people that think this way consistently haven't cared for a dog of their own. What they miss includes how often people act like dogs. An example of this has to do with not making eye contact. You'll see what I mean in this book bubble. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! #dogs #foreverhome #adoptafriend #weekendreader #daretomakeeyecontact

Communing With Opponents

While you might think you know something about how the world works, especially how it works between those with opposing worldviews, once you invite 4-legged creatures into your living space, well, your world changes. And so does your viewpoint. We've learned a lot about how to roll with life from our dogs and cats. #community #dogsandcats #worldview #letsjustallgetalong

Comeback Dog

Everyone loves a great comeback story. Well, with a dog, "comeback" can serve as a well-used command. In Watson's case, he didn't need us to use the command, because it was already coded into his DNA. I hope you enjoy this book bubble! Please share. #dogs #comeback #hilarityonfourlegs

Dogs Make Promises, Too

If you're not a dog person yet, consider that dogs keep their promises, while humans sometimes don't. While writing "Watson's Way," my promise to future not-a-dog-person-yet readers was to give them a window into the world of a dog. That's true even with this blurb from "Watson's Pee-Mail." Enjoy! #dogs #promises #faithful #companion #writing

The Music of Love

As we approach Valentine's Day, the holiday with perhaps more music written for it than any other holiday, think about how music influences you. What kind of music do you love the most? Why is that? Who do you like to share it with? There's an old bumper sticker that declared, "Live music is the best!" Watson would agree with that. #music #dogs #love #valentines

For Parents of Grade-Schoolers

When I wrote Watson's Way, I saw it as devotional book, particularly suited to parents with grade-school kids. With the pace of life getting in the way of spending time with our kids, having stories to read and share together is a gift. That's what Watson's Way can be for you. Whether your kids are tucked into bed or sitting in your lap doesn't matter. What does matter is reading a short story about Watson's funny habits and then talking through the journaling questions at the end of each chapter. As a parent, you'll learn a lot about your kid's thoughts, fears and dreams. And your kids will fall in love with a gentle teacher. #dogs #love #quiettimewiththekids

Dogs Humanize People

There's a long Greek word used to describe humans who "humanize" animals. I think people who like to aim that Greek word at other people, like it's a bad thing, simply don't understand animals (or people, for that matter). They especially don't understand dogs. They've never had a dog. They've missed out on all that can be learned from a dog. They've not been loved by a dog. And that is a terrible loss, indeed. From our broken hearts at the sudden loss of our beloved Watson, we wrote this book to show just how much a dog can humanize its persons. And it is a beautiful thing, indeed.

Musical Dogs? What?

It's only when your dog lives with you--not in a kennel outside, but in your home--that you really get to know their personality. And trust me, every dog has a distinct personality. In the case of Watson, he was the consummate music lover. All the tuneful sounds we provided seemed to bring him auditory delight, from head-banging to classical. Still, it was obvious he had a favorite genre: live guitar music. Could he know that was our favorite genre, too?

Storm on the Horizon

Have you seen those memes on Facebook asking if you like the sound of thunder in the distance? Maybe you, like me, take delight in distant storms but not so much when they're directly overhead. In my experience, dogs are not fans of thunder, no matter how far away. But sometimes, a storm warning for a dog comes when another dog appears on their horizon. It sure did for Watson. His response to such impending threats was priceless.

Game of Denathor

Dogs are like mirrors...furry, wet-nosed mirrors. One of the most amazing things about dogs is that they make us more human by helping us see ourselves differently. "Dog people" tend to see the world with more whimsy and humor. Because that's how dogs see the world.

Space Bubbles Are Overrated

The human need for personal space is real, of course. But demands for personal space have real limits. There are more than 7 billion people on earth, after all. On the other hand, dogs have no need for personal space. They also could care less about our desire for personal space. Because, well, our space IS their space. #inyourface #bigwethello #dogsteachusabetterway

Dogphobic Person Adopts Dog Anyway

Although I have the scar to prove I was bitten by a dog at the age of 5, I grew up with dogs. My wife did not. Her parents did not. So for her, dogs were viewed as kind of like lightly domesticated ravenous wolves, emotionally speaking. That's why it was a BIG SURPRISE when she decided the right dog for us weighed about the same as our young daughter. What a brilliant risk to take! Watson dissolved all those years of fear and filled our family with laughter, joy and love. Because that's what dogs really, really, really want to do. And Watson did.

Hypersonic Cats Vs. Peacenik

Cat lovers know that their feline housemates don't require much. Generally, they love to be left alone for great swaths of time, with the understanding they should only be "bothered" for food. That is unless there is friction amongst their ranks. Hissing. Chasing. Chaos. Then they need a referee. And the best referee in a cat fight isn't a human. It's a dog.

The Struggle Is Real!

You know how hard it is to get excited about exercise? You ever reach over, hit the snooze button, and then regret it later? Yes, the struggle is real. That's one of many reasons dogs are called our best friends. Their enthusiasm for exercise (what humans call "play") is contagious, if not downright comical. When I wrote Watson's Way, I wanted to share real moments of our life with this really amazing dog. Lots of those stories are about "play." See what you think, and please consider reading Watson's Way. #dogsrock #turnstruggletoplay

The Politics of Naps?

Lots of famous political leaders routinely took naps, including Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Napoleon. But I bet they never had to navigate the dangerous, political minefield of where they took a nap. Or worry about who might horn in right beside them. :-)

Dogs Make Humans Better

Recently, we heard someway say that dogs don't live as long as us. Inwardly, we wondered why they would want to state something so obvious. Soon it became clear that even though they have a dog, they keep it outside and invest very little emotion toward their dog. Which really misses the point of having a dog in the first place. It's also why animal shelters are full of rejected dogs. But here's the thing...becoming a dog's "person" means you willingly commit to investing your heart (not just some food and a little of your time) into your dog. The payoff you'll receive back from your dog is priceless. Trust me, you will become a better human because of your commitment to your dog.

Breaking News! Dog Loves Hugs!

Some scientists believe that humans need 4 hugs a day to survive, and 12 a day to grow. Dogs like Watson love to receive hugs. As many a day as humanly possible. Another reason dogs are wonderful and we're so healthy. ;-)

Canine Plays Movie Villain!

It's funny how some people think that dogs don't have personalities. Not only do dogs have their own personality, the really smart ones can pretend to be someone else very convincingly. Even a movie villain.

A dog guy?

People who say they "don't like dogs" often had a bad experience with one when they were young. One day, when I came home from 1st grade, there was a basset hound in our front yard. I'd never seen it before. But since it was in our front yard, I reasoned, as any child would, that it was only polite to greet it. It growled when I reached down (slightly, since I wasn't a tall 1st grader) to pet it, the dog growled. I pulled back, and it stopped growling. Puzzled, I tried again. And again, the hound growled. Now I was annoyed. This trespassing dog SHOULD allow me to pet it! By golly, I was going to pet it. Despite the immediate growl, I pressed on for the prize of patting the hound on its head...and watched my right hand disappear into eternity. Half an hour later, I was getting a shot in my bum. I'm still a dog guy, even after my amazing power of ignoring.

The Wisdom of Sharing

When we're little the grownups around us teach the importance of sharing. As we get older, we remember the lesson and how important it is (even though we might choose to ignore it sometimes). But did you know that dogs can also have this wisdom?

Yeah, Like That

Are you lucky enough to have a socially awkward friend? Says the wrong things. Laughs too loud. Acts weird...a lot. No? Get a dog. They'll do all that, and more. And you'll love them for it. But it's the other side of this that really counts. You see, when you act weird (and you do, you know), your dog will love you all the same.

Tired of email? Try pee-mail!

In an age full of "smart phones" that seem to make us, well, not so smart, it's easy to get discouraged at how difficult it is to communicate well. Dogs don't have such troubles. Maybe that makes them smarter than us in some ways. There is something to be said for being direct.

Do you speak dog?

It is said that there are 89.7 million pet dogs in the United States. That means a lot of folks have a furry pal under their roof. Maybe more than one. Anything from a tiny lap dog to a massive Mastiff. But do they all speak dog? We learned how to speak dog from our dog, Watson. He can teach you, too.

The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers

Christian Books & Bibles

A youth minister's career is typically less than 5 years. And that's not because they "graduate" to adult ministry. It's because they burn out. Going the distance requires setting specific and unique boundaries. This book gives them to you with humor, real stories, and loads of inspiration.

Book Bubbles from The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers

The Imperative of Walls

When I wrote these words, "social media" was bringing a camera or a boom box to a youth event. The famous poem by Robert Frost had a different vibe then than it might now, with all his talk about walls and the imperative of maintaining them. So, although there have been loads of changes in the world since the writing of this book and the world we gasp at now, we’re all just as human, just as broken, just as much in need of true and genuine connection as at any time in history. Kids need caring youth ministers just as much now, as then. And, just as then, we still need walls. We need relational boundaries. Not to keep people out, but to safeguard each person’s personhood. Indeed, just as then, we still love those walls...and hate them, nevertheless. But those walls still need tending, regardless. More so now than ever. May the Spirit bring you wisdom and boldness in your wall-tending. ~JLL #walls #imperative #tending #persons #maintain #boundaries #love #human #broken #connection

Youth Ministry Begins at Home

Let’s get straight to it. “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8 (NIV) In this upside down world, where bad is called good (and the reverse is also true) and completely unfettered and unfiltered self-expression is held up as most laudable and praiseworthy, you’ve got your ministry work cut out for you before you set foot out the door. Which is why it’s essential that your first ministry steps of the day happen before you open that door. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. ~Joel #youthministry #beginsathome #youth #boundaries #goodneighbors #church #crazyworld #readagreatbook #awardwinning #theultimatesurvivalguideforyouthministers

Youth Ministry’s Harshest Taskmaster

Youth ministry is hard enough without creating your own drill sergeant. That's what will happen, though, if you don't wrangle in and tame your quest for "amazing stuff" in your programming. #youth #kids #youthministry #programming #programs #toomuchstuff #wrongheaded #uncomplicateit #wisdom #involveparents #wordtothewise #shavingcreamwars #monitorimpact #watchyourhours #ministryisntprogramming #UltimateSurvivalGuideForYouthMinisters

Building Walls of Love

As Valentine's Day 2021 draws near, so we also near the season of Lent. Both are, at their core, about love. But what each has to say about love have little in common. In the age of corona, building any sense of community is more of a challenge than ever. But the way to get there is not by tearing down anything and everything that looks like a wall. Some walls need to be built or rebuilt. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. ~Joel #build #wallsoflove #community #closeness #proximity #love #openness #pastors #ministry #youthministry #kids #corona #challenges #faith #readabook #theultimatesurvivalguideforyouthministers #TUSGFYM

Fences in the Sanctuary?

Having grown up as a "PK" I'd already been exposed to the kind of "What boundaries?" stuff that comes in church life. Then, I spent 7 years full-time in youth ministry. And then...I added another 8 years, as the spouse of the youth minister. So, yes. Erecting fences in the sanctuary—even if they're invisible—is to be commended. Highly commended. If not for you, the long-suffering youth minister (or pastor), then for your family. Just do it. If you wait until your family members say something about it, they've absorbed too much damage on your behalf. #boundaries #goodfencesmakegoodneighbors #sensitivity #awareness #love #payattention #seizetheday #notyourmonkey #enoughisenough #youthministry

The Seven Last Words

As our world is subjected to an unprecedented number of tectonic medical and social forces, the church has a golden opportunity to stand up, reach out, and seek to bring peace. Now is not the time to hunker down in the fortress or invoke the seven last words. #riseup #goforth #engage #newhabits #listen #keepthefaith

Parental Crisis

When I wrote this many years ago, the world was much different than it is today, in loads of ways. But not utterly so. It's a myth, and a dangerous one at that, to think the world has completely changed. For instance, the media still portrays parents as clueless, especially dads. In this chapter, of The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers, we focus on the needs of parents. In it, I list out 8 areas that parents need help from a strong youth ministry program. Let's start with the first one, because without it, none of the rest have a chance of setting roots and growing. #youthministry #parents #faith #church #crisis #sharedneed #desperate #commongoals

Unfriendly Gatherings

Anyone in ministry will resonate with this bubble. Because, well, people being what they are, these things are inevitable. But that doesn't mean you're always prepared. That's why I wrote this book. As much as anything, it was cathartic for me. Not everyone you serve, Youth Minister, is rooting for you. It's what you do with that knowledge that matters the most to your impact of your ministry. #youthministry #reasonhecame #treadlightly #holdloosely #persist

What's Your Why?

When I was doing "full-time youth ministry" (I volunteer now), the average length of a youth minister's career was 4 years. Yes, you read that right. But it gets worse. That average 4 years of ministry was conducted in 4 different churches. Yikes! That was an appalling situation and provided the WHY for writing this book. Yet, there's more. Today, the lifespan of a "career youth minister" has actually shrunk to less than 4 years. Unexamined expectations continue to crush the life out this critical minister...and ministry. And the kids lose. But the stakes have never been higher.

Getting By...With Help

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote an iconic song about the importance of supportive friends: "Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends." (*earworm*). It's weird how many youth ministers, working so hard to build community with the groups of kids they serve, don't pursue being in a community of their own. Or is it?

"What can you know about raising teens?"

Conventional wisdom isn't always all that wise. When it's wrong, though, it tends to be epically wrong. Especially when parents of teens believe that a 20-something youth minister can't know much about the challenges of parenting teens. But maybe that's also an unexamined bit of conventional wisdom.

Spill In Aisle Six!

Youth Ministers serve so many more than the kids. You've got parents, church staff, church leadership, peers, the community... it adds up! And early on, it freaked me out. All the spills! So when I wrote The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers, I wanted to bring a life-long map to help navigate all the challenges of ministry. Beginning with accepting the truth that you'll never know everything...and that's OK. See if you relate to this excerpt and please consider reading The Ultimate Survival Guide for Youth Ministers. #youthmin

Programming Kids

Kids get programming every day. Too often, the programming is delivered through their smart phone. Other times it is pushed on them by their peers. Where does your youth ministry programming fit in? How do you fit in? The bad news is that you must decide. The good news is that you get to decide.

Beware the Worship Team

Since I first wrote this chapter, lots of choirs have been replaced with "worship teams." Which makes the perils of running across the grain of this group of people even more perilous to the youth minister. #worshipteam #outtamyway

No Lone Rangers Allowed

For some, youth ministry is a team experience. Maybe you inherited the team from your predecessor or maybe you've nurtured your team. But if you are in a small community or serve a small church, your risk for going solo is high. Unfortunately, engaging in youth ministry can be a very isolated--and isolating--endeavor. And that's not so good.

Your Evil Reeboks

Of all the "shareholders" a youth minister must keep in mind as they make decisions about, well, just about everything, it is the regular church member that may be the most important. Because there is a strong correlation between their involvement and their expectations. In other words, the less they're involved in the activities of the church's youth ministry, the more outrageous their expectations will be for it.

The Removal of Walls

Are boundaries needed in youth ministry? Yep. There are places where we absolutely need walls, or build them where there are none. Yet, it is also true that we maintain some walls at the expense of those around us, as well as ourselves.

The Perils of Family

Youth ministers too often treat everyone as if they're "family." In a way that makes sense, since your work is focused on deepening relationships with the kids you work with, their parents, and the community you all live in. But they're not your family. Nope. And it is a peril to not be clear about that.

Foreign church?

Youth ministry comes with a LOT of expectations. From the kids. From the parents. From the staff. From the clergy. From the community. But the most debilitating expectations don't come from outside the walls of the church, or even inside the church. They come from inside the head and heart of the youth minister.

Short Circuits

Edward de Bono was a wise man. Our expectations can easily become the tail that wags the dog...but without any of the cuteness. Especially when our expectations are unexamined and unchallenged.

The Point of Youth Ministry

Sometimes in the crazy schedule of a typical youth minister, we forget why we're doing what we're doing. And that's never good.

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